A Trip to Ocean Shores during Phase Two of the COVID-19 Washington State Lockdown

Sun setting on the beach at Ocean Shores
Sun setting on Ocean Shores at the end of my first trip since COVID-19 broke.

On May 24th, Washington State Secretary of Health Jonn Wiesman placed Grays Harbor in Phase Two of the COVID-19 lockdown. That placement means that Ocean Shores’ hotels, restaurants, and even beaches were open (with stipulations).

Last Thursday, very first chance I got to go out that way, I made a murder-hornet-line (sort of like a beeline) for the coast.

Today, I’m grateful that I did.

Ocean Shores Beaches in the Midst of COVID-19

I’m actually not a big beach person. I greatly prefer the mountains and the forest. Still, Ocean Shores has always held a place in my heart. I’ve even written about it once before but, this time, my motivations were different than the usual.

I’ve been able (thank God) to get outdoors since the state parks opened back up a couple of weeks ago, so what I really wanted with my trip to the coast was to enjoy the simple fruits of civilization again. I wasn’t disappointed.

The beach didn’t have nearly as many people as usual for a day with beautiful weather. This was a positive for introvert me, but also good to see that people were being responsible in their enjoyment of the beach and not simply bucking all of the COVID-19 health guidelines out here.

It was very peaceful (though windy as all hell) out there in the sand and sun. After more than three months of the COVID-19 lockdown, that simple peace and open air felt downright profound.

Breaking my Fast at the Galway Bay Irish Pub

For the first time in four months I sat down in a restaurant and enjoyed a meal. This would have been thrilling enough on its own, but it also just happened to be at my favorite restaurant in Ocean Shores: Galway Bay Irish Pub.

To make it even better than THAT, I was at the tail end of a twenty-four fast, which means I was voraciously hungry. The sum of all these variables was one of the most unforgettable, delicious eating experiences of my life.

The Galway Bay menu calls what I ordered the Tipperary Steak, but I consider to be “colcannon with Tipperary steak on the side.” Then again, I consider ALL Galway entrees to revolve around the colcannon.

That stuff is just mindbogglingly delicious.

I thought it would feel strange to eat in a restaurant with people spaced several feet apart and servers wearing face masks and the shadow of COVID-19 looming over everything, but it ended up feeling nothing but “great.”

The food was delicious. It was a pleasure to crack jokes with strangers again and to chat with a server. Such simple little things seem so precious after being penned up with End-of-the-World fears for so long.

It’s funny, as I think about it. Before COVID-19, my idea of getting away was always getting to the most secluded natural areas I could find and finagling ways to avoid people.

Now, after months of COVID-19 lockdown, I appreciate most of all the simple pleasure of human contact, a seat in a good restaurant, and the sound of laughter.

And colcannon. Definitely colcannon.